Showing up to class

Maplewood Dog

I’m always impressed when week after week, reliably, people and their dogs show up for classes. Have practiced homework. Have even just managed to get themselves out the door to come to lessons. Let alone to be on time, to actually be here as scheduled repeatedly. In awe that this approach to learning works for them. Totally grateful it does, as it means I have a business model, grateful and in awe.

Because, I’m terrible at it. If I sign up for a multi week class, I do so assuming I will skip at least 1/3 of the classes. Unless I have some other motivator, one that isn’t the joy of learning something new. If there is some other motivator, like fear, necessity, or a higher order goal that requires a stage where I have to check this box, one that isn’t linked to enjoyment, fun, self satisfaction, personal goals, then I’ll likely be more reliable.

Why? Because I find learning based on external accountability and some form of deadlines and expectation I do, practice and learn certain things in a time frame, incredibly de-motivating for me. Has been for as long as I can remember. Learning in such ways saps the fun out of it for me. It’s incredibly inefficient for me. Often frustrating. And requires significant planning and conservation of energy that would be more efficiently spent other ways. I can do it, and do it well, as my formal education transcripts show, but there will be fall out. The bureaucracy of it all drives me out of my mind.

Yet, I love to learn. And do so in many ways that are efficient and joy building for me.

But sometimes I forget how poor and unreliable I am as a student in the traditional way we often think learning and education is to happen. So I sign up for a class, all excited and prepared to jump in feet first. Then as the class goes on, and the structured requirements, limits, rules set in, I find myself avoiding, annoyed, apathetic, the fun and enjoyment of learning and the material quickly sapping.

Until I step back. Remember why I wanted to take the class in the first place. Remember it’s the bureaucracy I’m finding distasteful, not the material itself. Separate the arbitrary rules of the course, from the learning. Find the joy once more. get back to having fun with my dog.

And remain in awe of each of my students every single time they show up for class. Oh how I wish I could be like they!

Tom and Zora standing with the stream the just swam in behind them

0 thoughts on “Showing up to class

  1. I am the same way. Which is why I’ve always done so badly in math. It confuses and frustrates me, there’s no joy, it’s like trying to hammer a square peg into a round hole; with enough force, you can get it in there, but who knows if it’s going to stay there or not. On my own terms, I can learn super fast. If not, it takes me for freaking ever. My brother, complete opposite. Hand him a book, say “learn this,” he’ll have it done by Friday, doesn’t matter what it is he’ll have it learned easy as pie. Amazes me to no end. I’ve always admired people like that. It’s like they have computers for brains, kind of fascinating honestly. 😉

    1. You can hand me a book and tell me learn this and I can read it, retain it and regurgitate it. But unless you also had a conversation with me to convince me it is worth my time and energy to read and learn that book, I’ll also probably really resent you for requiring it of me and I’ll likely tell you exactly my displeasure in either direct or not so direct ways. From 3rd grade on I had many letter campaigns to various teachers, school officials, and people on the school committee. I had various run ins with principles and vps for “going over their heads” when their ridiculous policies were too rigid in ways that impeded my actually learning things. I do not take bureaucratic nonsense well or lightly. I prefer having reasons for learning things beyond being told I must or should.

      1. Yup, and I can make notecards and memorize really anything but if I go long enough without using any of that knowledge in real life situations, it’s gone, forgotten, and probably just as well because if it was so important and useful I would’ve remembered it.

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